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Landlords pay €7m as penalties loom at end of tax amnesty

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Billy Timmons, TD. Photo: Tom Burke

Billy Timmons, TD. Photo: Tom Burke

Billy Timmons, TD. Photo: Tom Burke

LANDLORDS and second-home owners in Dublin have paid over €7m in the second home tax amnesty, which runs out this week.

The tax bill will almost double to more than €7,000 next week for anyone who fails to avail of the final warning.

Although the exact numbers of second-home owners who paid out is unclear, up to 2,000 property owners in the capital are believed to have paid up during the so-called grace period over the past six months.

However, Reform Alliance TD Billy Timmins is calling for the time allowed to be extended as he says some property owners were unaware of the tax.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly's officials are ruling out any extension.

Councils are responsible for collecting the tax. But second-home owners are being warned the property tax database is being used to track down those evading the charge.

The charge mainly affects people who have a second property, which they are renting out. Outside of Dublin, it also affects holiday-home owners -many of whom would be from the capital.

Also in Dublin, a large number of properties would be owned by people who predominantly live in the country but who own a place to stay while in Dublin.

The Non-Principal Private Residence tax was brought in five years ago as a way to raise funds during the economic crisis. The charge was effective from 2009 to 2013 and has since been replaced by the property tax. Over its lifetime, the NPPR brought in €400m.

The charge was a flat rate of €200 a year. But the bill increased with penalties for those who avoided paying the tax.

The owner of a property that was liable for the tax for the full five years from 2009 to 2013 now owes €4,220. But from September 1, the charge will dramatically increase to €7,230.

Across Dublin, €6.9m has been collected, accounting for almost a third of the €22.7m across the entire country.

The extra revenue is a boost for four councils in Dublin:

Dublin City Council has taken in €4m;

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown €800,000;

Fingal €1.2m;

South Dublin €900,000.

The numbers of houses liable for the tax varies as not everyone would owe the bill for all five years.

So far, there have been 9,350 individual settlements in Dublin but there has also been much duplication as lots of people making settlements would do so for a number of years.

empathy

The average number of properties liable for the charge across the five years was 1,958. As a result, the average payment was €703, made up of the original €200 for the original charge each year plus penalties.

Mr Timmins said: "Despite what officials may think, people didn't know about this charge."

The Wicklow TD also said councils need to show discretion to allow people pay the bill by instalments.

"There seems to be a complete lack of empathy," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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